February 2009 eNewsletter
Dear Dragon Sailors,
We have had a very busy winter here in Burnham, finishing
the new hull mould Poul talked about in his last newsletter
and finalising some other details for the 2009 model.
Since finishing the new tooling in November our workshop
has been running at full speed on production and service work.
Despite the economic gloom, the market for both new and used
Dragons continues to flourish. Some newcomers to the class
are "downsizing" to Dragons from bigger boats.
However, the main reason for our very busy and productive
winter is the continued loyalty and trust that our existing
customers place in us. People such as Tommy Mueller, Joergen
Schonherr, Jens Christensen/Kim Anderson, Vincent Hoesch,
Valdemar Bandelowski/Soren Hvalso, Olaf Sorrensen, Andre du
Pon to name just a few, will all be sailing their new Petticrows
Dragons this year. They felt confident to place the orders
(and trust US with their money instead of their banks) before
the new model was ready. Thank you from all of us at Petticrows.
Howlett - our designer has double-checked the new mould progress
and offered invaluable advice on a regular basis. Although
these days the majority of design and tooling work is computer
based, there is still no substitute for a good eye and experience.
Added to that Poul's irreplaceable familiarity with the Dragon
class and his feedback ensure the changes are not just based
When I crew for Poul to test changes on the hull, his comments
about the way the bow is moving through the waves and how
the shape of the wave off the transom is "just right"
always amazes me.
Poul successfully tested some of Ian's design ideas on Danish
Blue during the 2008 season; these have now been fully integrated
into the 09 boats built from our new moulds (changes had to
be made by hand on the 2008 boats). The changes have been
quite subtle in the bow, but in the run aft they are more
significant. Full use has been made of new mould making techniques
and materials to ensure the longest straightest waterlines
The International Class Measurer, Gunter Ahlers and IDA Technical
Chairman, Mike Hayles controlled us on a regular basis during
production and signed off the measurement on the first hull
out of the new mould.
Class rules now dictate the spinnaker chute has to be constructed
from solid glass fibre. Our new design is lighter as it is
part of the deck moulding; it has also been reshaped to make
hoisting and lowering of the spinnaker easier.
The spinnaker hatch and genoa furling gear design have also
been lowered to reduce windage, giving the foredeck a much
rule change passed unanimously at the IDA AGM last year was
unexpectedly rejected by ISAF. To allow optional use of rope
runners and backstays above the decks; below decks rope has
been used for some time now. Rope technology is constantly
improving; new products are reliable and have enabled us to
change from wire to rope all over the boat. Just compare a
5 year old Dragon to our latest model and you will see what
One of ISAF's concerns which lead to the new rule rejection
was the degradation of rope fibres in the sun. Poul has been
testing rope rigging in Antigua for the last three months;
sailing almost every day and has reported no problems and
no wear and tear so far, despite the sunny and strong local
The IDA will allow a limited number of boats to test the
rope runners during this season so the rule change can be
re-submitted and the decision reviewed later this year.
The Danish team Jens Christensen/Kim Anderson is one of the
teams given IDA permission and dispensation to act as a trial
boat. Jens and Kim were racing in the recent Primo Cup with
rope runners and backstay with in their newly delivered hull.
Finishing second in the 43-boat fleet in their "out of
the box" new hull is exactly the type of result we strive
to maintain. No tools were necessary. Just mast up and go!
and Kim opted for our centre console again on their 2009 boat;
now becoming popular as it enables greater freedom of movement
around the cockpit. We have sold some 20 Dragons with this
Also developed at the IDA meeting and approved by ISAF was
the rule amending the dimension of the already approved small
jib. Poul has been using these with the Antiguan fleet and
is sure smaller crews will really benefit, not only at club
All that is needed is a small track on the deck, level with
the mast. All other gear is just the same as with a genoa,
even the halyard.
Follow this link to
see more . New jib in Action.
A small, but very useful option that we have now is the continuous
genoa sheet with rope shackle. Michi Lipp developed this some
time ago. If you like to sail with continuous sheets, using
a rope shackle is a very quick and reliable method of attaching
the sheet to the genoa without having a steel shackle damaging
the mast - neat and effective.
And yet another innovation we have developed in conjunction
with Lyndon Brown a Dragon sailor from Perth, Australia is
a completely new, quick release genoa sheeting system. Poul
will be using the system this season, so if you are in the
same place at the same time, ask him to show you. The concept
is the main genoa sheet cleat automatically opens when the
fine tune rope is released beyond a certain point. This removes
any concerns for the lighter crews in releasing the genoa
sheet in strong winds and will also allow quicker more efficient
roll tacks in all conditions.
new mast section mentioned by Poul in his previous newsletter
is really taking shape. It's very radical. Here are the first
pictures of the extrusion, just arrived.
Ian Howlett has developed this unusual shape using his experience
with the 6 meters and other progressive designs he is involved
with. The whole concept is low drag and aerodynamic efficiency.
We are working hard to have one on the water as soon as possible
with Poul during the early season. The small longitudinal
stripes are called invigorators and Ian assures us that these
are very much part of the low drag concept.
are always welcomed at our workshop in Burnham to see the
Dragon production first hand. As we make everything "in
house" from the wood parts, glass fibre mouldings to
the spars the whole building process can be seen from start
to finish. A particular favourite is to see the process of
vacuum infusion now used on the hulls and decks since 2004.
Poul will be racing in most of the major races this year starting
in Majorca in the latest Danish Blue where all the new "toys"
can be seen. I will also be racing at other regattas.
As always our service van will be at as many races as possible;
on hand to help with mid regatta servicing and repairs. Please
call or e-mail us if you need spare parts, sails (we sell
North sails as well as Hoj-Jensen Design) or some service
work mid season so we can make sure we deliver what ever is
needed to the regattas.
I wish you a successful and enjoyable 2009 season.